Thursday, March 18, 2021

This Is Us 5.10: “I’ve Got This”

“That’s the thing, Toby. We’re all family.”
– Kevin

While I enjoyed this episode, I can’t say that it blew me away. It moved plotlines forward a little bit and we did get to see some dynamics come to a head that really needed it. And I did appreciate how the effects of lockdown are starting to show for the Pearsons. In the past, we see Rebecca and Jack starting to get the hang of being new parents to three wiggly babies. But it’s not long before Jack has to go out for a fancy dinner to try and get a promotion. After all, if the big bosses only see him as a foreman, he’ll never get ahead in the company. Jack, in typical fashion, is trying to impress and goes a little too far. He wins over his bosses with a funny anecdote about meeting a baseball player and then gets roped into credit card roulette. He feels like he has to participate to get them to like him and then he heads home with a $230 bill. Rebecca is not pleased and she ultimately tells Jack that she is going to be in charge of their finances.

Money is the big issue facing another facet of the Pearson clan this week, too. Kevin and Madison invite Toby and Kate over for dinner (while their nanny watches all four babies). It appears that Kevin has tons of money and we know that Kate and Toby are struggling since Toby lost his job. He tries to put on a brave face but he can’t hold it in as Kevin smokes fancy cigars and fantasizes about building a family compound in Malibu. At one point Toby even thinks Kate told Kevin about his woes and blurts out that he’ll find a new job. Kate obviously didn’t’ spill the beans and then things between Kevin and Toby get heated. Not season 4 Kevin-Randall heated, but Toby points out how condescending Kevin is, throwing money around like it’s no big deal, like Toby should be happy to accept his brother-in-laws supposed charity. Toby feels like it’s his job to provide for his family and Kevin should stay in his own lane. I can understand why Toby is prideful and wouldn’t want the hand-outs and he is right that Kevin doesn’t think before he speaks or acts most of the time. But, I can also see that Kevin was trying to be supportive in his own way. They do end up making up by the end of the episode (even if Kevin makes Kate promise to come to him she ever really does need anything for her or the kids). And she makes the decision that she’s going to go back to work as a part-time Teaching Assistant at Jack’s school.

Across the country, Beth’s mom has been staying with them while they were out on their New Orleans trip. But she’s getting ready to leave and Beth can’t wait. Neither can Randall, who has set up show on the porch, complete with a copy maker and a space heater. But, it sounds like Beth’s mom isn’t ready to leave just yet and Beth is not taking it well. She feels like her mother is always judging her for what she’s doing wrong raising her family, especially with how the girls have been acting. They definitely have two teenage girls with teenage problems in their house. And poor Annie gets relegated to being ragged on by her sisters for liking NCIS. Malik comes over and asks Randall for advice on what to do about his ex-girlfriend suddenly wanting got be in their daughter’s life. Randall shares that he felt he would have saved a lot of heartache and therapy had he known his mother growing up. And then dinner ends up being tense in the Pearson house because Beth’s mom comments on how all the girls are on their phones. Beth takes the devices away and then manages to piss of Tess for using incorrect pronouns for Tess’s friend Alex. And it turns out Tess is actually dating Alex. Then Deja sees Malik’s phone getting lots of texts from his ex and she gets mad that he didn’t tell her what was going and storms off. As if things weren’t chaotic enough, Beth then lets her mom have all the judgmental anxiety she’s been building up. Beth’s mom leaves the table and when Beth goes to apologize, she’s packing her things. She explains that she is so lonely in her house, she’s been telling time by the traffic patterns. She likes the chaos and the mess of Beth’s place because at least she’s got people around. So later, Beth brings Randall (who has had a bit of a reconciliation with Deja over the ex-girlfriend issue) some beer because he’s going to be staying on the porch for a while. Her mom is staying indefinitely. They aren’t the only Pearsons having an impromptu guest. Just as Kevin proclaims to Madison that their family of four is enough and he’s ready to focus on his new family, there’s a knock at the door. And should appear, but Uncle Nicky and something tells me he’s going to be sticking around for a while, too!

Overall, this was a fine episode. It just didn’t wow me. I liked we got to see more of the kids because we hadn’t seen them in a while (especially Randall and Beth’s girls) but it wasn’t the most earth shattering episode we’ve had. I know they are only fictional characters but I do feel connected them and I enjoy seeing their lives play out. I’m eager to see what comes next and how we get to the place in the future. They still have a lot of questions to answer in the next twenty six episodes. I know I said it last time, too, but it almost feels like that’s not enough time to cram in all of this storytelling.

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